This is the full 8-22-11 episode of the Labor Express Radio program.
It is a rare thing when activists launch a campaign and win their first substantial success within the same week. But that is precisely what happened for immigrant rights activists last week.
As President Obama shifts into campaign mode in preparation for the 2012 presidential election, one element of his base, Latino voters, are increasingly voicing their disappointment with the President. On Tuesday in six cities around the country members of the National Alliance of Latin American and Caribbean Communities (NALACC) and Presente.org organized a series of protests to expressing their opposition to the so called "Secure Communities" or S-COMM program which encourages local law enforcement to act as extensions of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency or ICE. Here in Chicago members of both organizations presented a letter to staff at Obama's national campaign headquarters calling on the President to end the program.
The following day the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) organized another rally at the Haymarket monument in downtown Chicago, a site sacred to the immigrant's rights movement as well as the labor movement. The rally took place shortly before a hearing arranged by the Department of Homeland Security to hear community feedback about the S-COMM program. At that hearing DHS representatives faced a boisterous crowd of hundreds who expressed their anger and frustration over the massive increase in deportations over the past two years. The same DHS panel heard the same message in other cities across the country last week.
And than on Thursday Obama responded. The administration announced that they would began a case by case review of the 300,000 immigrants currently in deportation proceedings and would advise immigration judges not to deport those who were not guilty of substantial crimes. It was a victory for the immigrant rights movement and a step in the right direction. But it falls far short of the movements demand to end the S-COMM program altogether and it is yet to be seen whether it is enough to turn around Obama's flagging support in the Latino community.
The first half of this weekâs program will cover how the anti-S-COMM campaign was launched and had its first success last week.
The last few weeks have seen an escalation in the violence in post coup Honduras. In the Bajo Aguan region of Honduras some 11 people have been killed in clashes between a local land owner and farm workers. The Bajo Aguan has been a area of conflict for several years, as Miguel Facussé a landowner who owns massive amounts of land in Honduras has fought farm workers legal title to land belonging to their cooperative. The violence in Bajo Aguan is symptomatic of the violence than continues to plague the Central American nation every since a successful right wing coup in 2009. In May, two human rights lawyers from Chicago visited Chicago. One of them was Alejandro Morena and I discussed the human rights situation in Honduras during his visit. You will hear that interview in the latter part of the program.
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